"CSSS is a rare opportunity to broaden both your scientific and social horizons. At SFI, I embarked on multiple research projects that are well outside my comfort zone. More importantly however, I had countless unforgettable experiences and forged lifelong friendships.” - Ellsworth Campbell, CSSS 2014

Program Overview

The Complex Systems Summer School offers an intensive 4-week introduction to complex behavior in mathematical, physical, living, and social systems. The school is for graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and professionals seeking to transcend traditional disciplinary boundaries and ask big questions about real-life complex systems.

The program consists of an intensive series of lectures, labs, and discussion sessions focusing on foundational concepts, tools, and current topics in complexity science. These include nonlinear dynamics, scaling theory, information theory, adaptation and evolution, network structure and dynamics, adaptive computation, simulation, and other subjects. Participants collaborate in developing novel research projects throughout the 4 weeks of the program that culminate in final presentations and papers. 

"The Santa Fe Institute Complex Systems Summer School (CSSS) is world class. Combining the latest thinking from world-leading scientists, true multidisciplinary perspectives, and the passion from 50 or more of the best and brightest attendees is inspiring. With the diversity of people, country representation and perspectives, breakthrough research was established in a wide range of new areas. I commend the program to those that are not satisfied with the status quo, those that want to break new ground, and those who are the future leaders in their fields.” - Matthew Ayres, CSSS Cohort 2014; Managing Director, Growth and Innovation Asia Pacific.


Tuition for the program for academic participants (i.e. students, post-docs or faculty) is $4,500. Tuition for professional/corporate participants is $6,000. Tuition covers participation, course materials, accommodations and meals. Students are responsible for their travel costs. 

After being accepted, students are expected to seek financial support for tuition from their home institutions, departments, or other sources. SFI is happy provide supporting information about CSSS to accompany such requests or applications. A limited amount of tuition assistance may be available for students with exceptional need who have demonstated substantial effort to obtain outside support.


Housing in single or double occupancy dormitory rooms is provided during the length of the program.


Applications are accepted from graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, faculty and professionals in any discipline. Proficiency in English and some background in science or mathematics are required. Participants are expected to attend the entire session. 

Applicants are welcome from all countries. Women and members of underrepresented groups are especially encouraged to apply. 

Application Requirements

In addition to completing an online application, please provide: 

- A current CV or resume. Include a clear description of your current educational or professional status, and a list of publications, if any.

- A statement that describes your research interests, and your interest in attending the summer school (maximum 2 pages).

- Two (2) letters of recommendation: one from a professor and one from a collaborator (see application for details). Note: The letters should be sent independently of your application. Please inform your recommenders that an email from "myreviewroom.com" will be sent to them with their password and instructions for uploading their letter of reference into your application file. It is the applicant's responsibility to ensure that the letters have been submitted by the deadline.

To Apply

Online applications are open from October 19, 2017 through January 29, 2018. Applicants should be notified by e-mail regarding the status of their applications by mid-March 2018.